Most people connect old age with wheelchairs, walking canes, crutches, and bedpans. But not anymore. All these can become things of the past with Yoga for seniors. Surprised? Don’t be, for Yoga has potent and proven therapeutic results for elders.
In fact, nearly 2.9 million Americans aged 55 and above practise yoga. In India too, elders are opting for Yoga to overcome their ageing issues. Yoga is even included a part of the daily routine in expert assisted living facilities in India.
Here is an overview of the advantages of Yoga for seniors.
Why do seniors need yoga?
Seniors are in dire need of Yoga due to the following reasons.
- 1/3rd of the elders today are obese.
- Almost 89% of the seniors have some form of geriatric or lifestyle disease like diabetes, hypertension, cardiac ailments, COPD, osteoarthritis etc.
- Seniors are more prone to depression, anxiety, stress etc due to age and social isolation.
- Many elders suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s as memory decline also increases with old age.
- Nearly 90% of the elders experience loss of appetite, poor metabolism, lessened immunity, digestive issues, sleeplessness etc. owing to their advancing age.
Almost all the above-mentioned health problems can be easily controlled and cured for elders with the help of Yoga. This is why yoga has become an integral part of the daily activities at independent senior living homes.
Benefits of Yoga for seniors
- Diabetes control
Type 2 diabetes develops usually as age advances as the body find it difficult to produce enough insulin or resists insulin production. Yoga has been found to limit Type 2 diabetes in seniors effectively.
Research reveals that a group of seniors aged 60 and above experience a drastic decline in their blood sugar levels on practising Yoga for 40 days.
- Decrease in Hypertension and Cholesterol
Elders mostly suffer from high blood pressure or hypertension in their senior years. This is due to the inability of the body to process the dietary salt due to slowed metabolism and lack of exercise. Reduced kidney function is another reason for age-related hypertension. But all this can be solved with yoga for seniors .
Studies reveal that 3 months of daily yoga by seniors above 60 caused a considerable decline in their hypertension, cholesterol and triglyceride.
- Weight loss
Obesity is a major problem for seniors a they gain weight due to lack of exercise and reduced metabolism.
Elders who practised Yoga weekly for 4 years lost 1.4 kgs more than others who did not.
- Better breathing
Many elders may face breathing issues with age due to poor lung capacity and air pollution. Asthmatic seniors have even more acute respiratory difficulties. Yogic exercises for breathing control have been known to improve lung power and ease breathing.
Yoga improves 10% of your lung capacity in 40 days. 30 minutes of Yoga can bring great relief to chronic asthmatics.
- Better memory and mind power
A study conducted in Germany in 2005 revealed that-2 weekly sessions of Yoga for 90 minutes each brought down depression by 50 % and anxiety by 30%.
Chair yoga postures for seniors
For seniors who have movement disabilities, chair yoga is the best. It is also advised for elders with balance issues or for those seniors who are very weak. The following chair yoga postures for seniors must be done at least once a day with 5-10 repetitions of each pose.
Here the senior sits in a chair with his/her leg slightly apart. During inhalation, the senior must raise both hands to meet above the head, and lace the finger together with the thumb pointing outwards. while exhaling. the hand should be let down with the shoulder rolling away from the ear and gliding the arm to the sides.
Sitting in a chair with the feet apart, the senior has to rest the hands on the thighs and glide them down the leg while bending his/her torso downwards during inhalation. During inhalation, the body is lifted upwards
Chair yoga postures for seniors generally help in joint lubrication, body balance, arthritis and even menopause.
Yoga is the ideal activity for elders to regain their youthful energy and this is why caring assisted living facilities always practise yoga for seniors.